Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fiori Leander Palarine (1905-1982)

Fiori L. Palarine, from the 1937 Minnesota State Legislative Manual.

   Another curiously named state legislator receives a write-up today, and the following profile will be extremely brief, as I could locate next to nothing on the life of Minnesota native Fiori Leander Palarine. A resident of Ramsey County, Palarine served one term in the Minnesota State House of Representatives in the late 1930s and following his term promptly disappeared from the pages of history. Other than a Find-A-Grave listing denoting his death in 1982, little else could be located on Palarine after he left political life in January 1939.
  Fiori Leander Palarine was born on February 17, 1905, his place of birth being given as Italy in the 1940 census. No information could be found regarding his early life or education. He married sometime in the early 1930s to Lorayne G. Burgan (1905-1975) and later had two daughters (listed as being ages five and one in the 1940 census) and a son, John R. (born 1948).
   A successful attorney based in St. Paul prior to his service in state government, Palarine became a candidate for the Minnesota State House in mid 1936, and in the November election defeated his opponent, Arthur T. Gibbons,  by a vote of 1,954 to 1,783. Despite attaining such high office the dearth of resources mentioning Palarine are so lacking that even his Minnesota legislative manual biography amounts to just one line! 

Palarine's "biography" from the 1937 Minnesota Legislative Manual.

   The lack of biographical material not withstanding, it is known that Palarine was quite busy as a first term legislator, serving on several committees during his term, including: Appropriations; Banks and Banking; Cities of the First Class; Civil Administration; Commerce, Manufacture and Retail Trade; General Legislation; Insurance and the Judiciary. Palarine would also make the pages of the Moorhead Daily News in September 1937, when he alleged that "erroneous statements" had been made in regards to state housing act benefits.
   Palarine had taken exception to comments made by Arthur Eggert, the public affairs secretary for the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, whom Palarine claimed made "erroneous statements regarding the Wagner Housing Act, which appropriates $526,000,000 for low cost housing and slum clearance projects." Palarine charged that Eggert's statements minimized the benefits of the housing act, and that these benefits would "far exceed the cost to city and state". Palarine even went as far as to "urge" then Governor Elmer Benson to call a special legislation to enact a housing bill.
   In 1938 Fiori L. Palarine was a candidate for reelection, and in that year narrowly lost (1,755 votes to 1,741) to Arthur T. Gibbons, the man whom he had defeated two years previously. Gibbons would represent Ramsey County in the legislature for fifteen more years, leaving office in 1954.

Palarine's unsuccessful bid for reelection, from the 1938 Minnesota Legislative Manual.

   Very little could be found on Fiori Palarine after his defeat in 1938. His term in the house concluded in January 1939 and afterwards he returned to practicing law. In 1952 he is listed as being "the successful bidder on the Grant Mine near Butte", a mine noted as having "stockpiles containing more than a 1,000,000 tons of lean ore and paint rock." Widowed in 1975, Fiori Palarine died on September 16, 1982  at age 77, his death occurring in Ramsey County. Both Palarine and his wife were interred at the Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Minneapolis.

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